Major emergencies can happen quickly and without warning. Statistics show that almost one in five businesses will be hit by a major disruption every year. Consequences can result in loss of customers, loss of revenue and even collapse of business.
Business Continuity Management can be defined as the management of activities and processes providing a framework for protecting your business in the event of an emergency. In simple terms, it is a process of considering "what if..?" scenarios and putting contingency measures in place before such events occur. Emergencies and events that directly affect your firm might be easy to predict; what would you do if your premises were flooded tonight, for example? Take care not to underestimate the disruption than 'minor' emergencies could have if no plan is in place. How would you heat the office if the boiler broke down in the middle of a cold snap? If your receptionist books sick for 2 weeks, how would you arrange a replacement?
Other unforeseen events which might impact on your business indirectly are equally important to consider. For instance, if your main supplier suffered a major fire, how would your own business cope? What if a ferry strike stranded one of your vehicles and its driver in Europe? Some solutions may be straight-forward, but it is still worthwhile making arrangements and setting them down to minimise disruption if such an event occurs. Remember the old maxim: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
A business continuity plan sets clear roles and responsibilities. Setting out what parts of the organisation’s activities and resources is essential in helping your business survive in an emergency.
Preparedness is the key. Business Continuity Planning is a way to ensure that your organisation has a quick and effective return to “business as usual” in the event of a major emergency. Business Continuity Management also enables businesses / services to identify those that are essential and must be provided.
Planning in advance can protect you and your business. It is essential that businesses ask themselves if they have effective business continuity plans in place.